Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson drew an immediate re-election challenge Friday as candidates started filing for the Nov. 7 elections in nine Lexington County communities.
Former town attorney David Knight, who was ousted by Wilson about two years ago, and College of Charleston student Shayla Flores launched efforts to unseat Wilson.
Some Town Council members are upset with personnel and financial decisions Wilson has made without their consent. He said the steps were needed to modernize town operations.
One spat involving town officials has landed before the state Supreme Court. The issue is whether council members can set the agenda for council meetings without Wilson’s approval.
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The leadership of the town of 1,500 residents matters because Chapin is the political and business hub of a 40-square mile area on the north tip of the county that is home to 58,000 people overall.
Knight pledged “to bring democracy back” to Town Hall but stopped short of saying if he will alter significantly what Wilson has done.
Knight, town attorney for nearly 30 years, is among those let go. His supporters include former mayor Stan Shealy, ousted by Wilson in 2013 after 32 years in office.
Growth should “ensure that we are creating new neighbors, not just new residents,” Flores said.
Two Chapin council seats — one held by a Wilson ally and another held by a frequent opponent — are also open in the November election.
Overall, six Lexington County mayors and 25 municipal council members will be chosen this year.
Batesburg-Leesville Mayor Rita Crapps and Pelion Mayor Barbara Smith said they won’t seek re-election. An additional race developed in Batesburg-Leesville with the resignation of Councilman James Wiszowaty.
Besides Chapin, elections will be held in Batesburg-Leesville, Irmo, Pelion, Pine Ridge, Springdale, Summit, Swansea and West Columbia.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483